According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of households in America have at least one pet. Professionally trained helper animals offer obvious benefits to humans. However, the average domestic pet, such as a dog, cat, even a goldfish can also provide us with many therapeutic benefits. Most pet owners don’t need reminding. Animals make people feel good. You may be surprised at just how many ways a pet can improve your health. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond. Studies have found that:

Pets provide sensory stress relief.

Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch.

Pets are natural mood enhancers.

Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems.  No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. And a pet will listen to you talk for as long as you want to talk. Therapists have been known to prescribe a pet as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.

Pets require you to exercise.

Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. People who own dogs tend to be more physically active and less obese than people who don’t. Taking your dog for a daily 30 minute walk will keep you moving and ensure that you meet the minimum recommendations for healthy, physical activity.

Pets provide interaction and less isolation.

Though people sometimes may have a hard time getting to know each other, pets can be the common denominator that helps them connect even among people who don’t seem to be very much alike. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a park.

Pets can give you stronger immunity.

It doesn’t seem to make sense. Pet allergies are one of the most common triggers of asthma. But researchers have studied the effects of having fury pets in the homes of children at risk for asthma. Those children were significantly less likely to develop asthma as they got older. A research conducted by James E. Gern, pediatrician, University of Wisconsin – Madison, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, demonstrate that having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing allergies by as much as 33 percent.

Pets may help overcome the limitations of ADHD and Autism.

Not only do children who grow up with pets have less risk of allergies and asthma, many also learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy from having pets. Taking charge of the jobs on a pet care schedule helps a child learn to plan and be responsible. Pets need to play, and playing with a pet is a great way to release excess energy. Autistic children often rely on nonverbal cues to communicate, just as pets do. Some are better able to interact with pets than people. Because the bond between a pet and a child is unconditional love, pets help children with ADHD and Autism learn about self-esteem. “The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can,” said Karin Winegar, whose book, Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform, registers human-animal interactions.

About the Author:

Simon Bukai owns and operates Vista Health Solutions, a health insurance marketplace. Simon’s experience in the industry has made him knowledgeable on many health and insurance related topics.

No related content found.